Mud, Mayhem and Murder!

What?  You did not spend your weekend playing in mud and mayhem and maybe a little murder?

I did!

I have a pretty good, “honey do” list for the horses.  One of the items on my list was to run a water line and electric line to the barn.   After last year’s brutal winter I learned my lesson, water lines need to be buried going to the barn.  You see in Dec 2010, we added onto a lean-to for the horses making it into a barn.  Since it was so late into the season, we were not able to get a proper water line to the barn.

What’s a proper water line?  It’s when the pipes are buried under the ground, at a depth of at least 4 feet so it is less likely to freeze. It became apparent last winter when the windchill was  -45* degrees.  Our makeshift, above ground water line did not stand a chance at being helpful in the delivery of water to the barn in those temps.  After hauling water in 5 gallon buckets  or in 55 gallon barrels from the trough to the barn, I decided that I was not going to do that again… Well, I should probably not say never, because you never know when a water line will break. This coming winter… there would be a water line installed, even if I had to hand dig it.  That might be a slight exaggeration but you get the picture.

Do you get the feeling that I am getting ready to share my experience with adding in a water line to the horse pasture?

You’re right and so smart!

I am so thankful that this past weekend was so nice out because it made this project enjoyable.

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 Unloading the equipment… getting ready to break ground

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We broke ground just about 10:30 am.  The sun was shining, it was warm, and the farmers were just starting to harvest the field next to our property.    With the excavator chewing up the ground, leaving the first piles of MUD behind,  I started my first job for this, which was to breakdown the “shelter” that protected the hydrant next to the horse trough.   So now I have the mud starting to show, the mayhem will come later in the adventure.  I am sure you are wondering about the murder; hang on,  I am getting there.

I had just picked up on of the last five bricks that I needed to move, when a mouse mom with what seemed like 500 babies hanging on her back flew out at me.  Okay, it may have been 6-8 but when facing off with a flying mouse and her babies, they multiply.  I half dropped– half threw the brick at the mice, jumped, and screamed… Once I thought the coast was clear, I poked around the brick evaluating the damage.  I am sad to report that  I committed my first mouse murder.  I won’t lie, I did not shed any tears over the lives lost in that fateful moment, or as I tossed the baby mice bodies into the trench that was just dug.

The very beginning!

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As the day progressed, the project continued to run smoothly… that is until the trench was almost opened all the way.  Dad had about a 2 foot section of ground to remove, when the ditch collapsed on itself!  It happened in a slow motion and yet fast at the same time… the excavator tipped over and sank down.  For a brief moment, I was not sure if we would get dad out of the excavator before the door was pinned shut.

What was my first reaction?  Take a picture for the wall of shame? Cough, cough, cough… I mean wall of Fame.  You see my father is very capable of getting the farm equipment stuck.  Most of the time the adventure ends with multiple trucks hooked up to the “stuck” piece of equipment, pulling it out of whatever precarious situation he got it in!

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One time when I was 14ish, dad came running into the house looking for help.  When mom and I walked outside; we looked at each other; looked at dad and told him to call an employee to help.  Why?  Because he had one of the business John Deere tractors being picked up by a larger Kubota tractor and dangling over the bed of a truck… No big deal. But the John Deere flipped upside down and was leaking fuel.  Mom and I really like living, so we decided that dad needed to get a guys help to flip his tractor right side up.  Do you blame me?IMG_0900

Anyway, back to the Mayhem– we hooked chains up to excavator and I climbed into the bobcat to provide tension to help support the sinking excavator. We were able to get the excavator to stabilize a little bit, but it was still pretty well stuck in the trench.  We changed the angle of the chains, and we were able to walk the excavator out of the ditch!  THANK YOU GOD!  The mayhem of the project only lasted 45 minutes, no one was hurt, and nothing broke!

The project continued on!

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With the trench fully dug, it was on to gluing the pipe together and putting it into the trench.  The goal: glue the pipes and attach the facet before dark.

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Well, the Mayhem delayed the project, so new goal: get the pipe glued before heading into the house for the night.  This would prevent us from having to rework much in the morning if the trench collapsed.   Mom was a trouper, and she held flashlights while dad and I glued.  New goal met… now it was time to find food and warm up!

Setting pipes by phone flashlights!

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Sunday morning came way too fast! I really did not want get up, but daylight was burning, and we had an open trench, a field tile broken and a brother’s lacrosse game to get to if possible.   Nash came out to check on the progress with me first thing Sunday.

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We fixed the field tile and dad back filled the trench, while I cleaned up and started to fix the fence.  Soon, Mud and Mayhem struck again.  Dad pulled up next to me with the bobcat full of dirt in the cab.  For the first time in my life, I dug out the cab of the bobcat and then vacuumed it out.   I was amazed at the places that the dirt got into in that small cab.
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As the project was nearing an end, dad looked at me and said, “All this hard work, and all there is to show for it is a pile of dirt and a facet in the barn– that gives you lots of water.”  I am okay with that!

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By 6:30 pm, the fence was fixed, the water line was considered complete, all the tools and supplies were put away, and I was heading back to the house to clean up and get food. So there you have it… my weekend was spent playing in the mud, a little mayhem and a few mice murders… almost the perfect weekend, if you ask me!

I’ll catch you soon.

H.C._J.

It’s My Birthday Month & I am Challenging Myself… Ready, Set, Go!

BirthdayOne, it’s  my birthday month!
Two, I very rarely make a big deal about my birthday, let alone my birthday month but… I think this year will be different While exploring yesterday, I found a great challenge post by another blogger, Mariama on her fantastic blog: this is my m{dot}.  It just so happens that she and I share something pretty unique… Wait for it,  our BIRTHDAYS.  In less than two weeks, we will be celebrating the beginning of year 29 of our fabulous lives. Next year for me it might be the first anniversary of my 29th birthday, but I will make that call later.
Three, I am going to join the challenge and post everyday of my birthday month.
Four, some of my topics may be different that Mariama BUT my goal is to post everyday.
Five, Let’s have some fun with this and would LOVE it if you joined me too!

See I already have this list thing down 😉

So since I have had less than 24 hours to contemplate this, you might want to hang on for the ride 🙂

Check out  Mariama’s  Full List:

I am changing up day one a little bit… So here I go!  Day 1!

ME in 250 Words or Less… but Likely More:

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I <3 Jesus & try to glorify him in all that I do.
I am the oldest of five kids!IMG_6356 I am the shortest in the family.
We were raised in a house where mom & dad encouraged us to throw the ball INSIDE… never a dull moment.
Maybe that’s how they ended up with 5 athletes. (We have all played collegiate sports)
I was fortunate enough to play tennis & swim for Hillsdale College.
WE (the family) are fans of THE OHIO STATE BUCKEYES! GO BUCKS!
I love being active.
I still play Tennis! My favorite all time players are: Andre Agassi & Lindsay Davenport.
I still swim, but I am enjoying the open water races more… see my first post Hola!
I ride & show horses. Louie is at the trainer & I am excited to get to ride him for the first time soon!LouieI <3 my pets.  I have an 11 year old Great Dane, Nash & 3 month old Teague (aren’t they cute).

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Top: Nash & Teague

 I <3 the water!  I don’t care if I am on the boat, wakeboarding,  near a body of water or swimming a race… I am a happy girl when near the it.
I am goal oriented & driven.
Traveling & Exploring makes me happy. It’s a great excuse to see friends around the country… (Note to self, need to visit friends out of the country soon). Recently, I hiked the Kalalua Trail on Kauai!  It was fantastic.

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Kalalua Trail hiking out

I am a country girl that loves to wear dresses.
Driving a diesel, F-350 4×4 is a lot of fun.
Shooting guns is fun… notice the siblings pic 😉
I have a big heart.
My favorite color is blue… but not michigan blue.
Studying health & wellness is a huge passion of mine.
I eat like a rabbit… mainly plant based but I am flexible because we can’t control everything… no matter how hard I try.
Most of the time I have a hair tie on my left wrist.
I am a klutz,  if I can get injured doing something, I probably will
I am a self proclaimed NERD & I am okay with it.

1197 I am pretty much a hippie living in a professional world.

Okay I have way surpassed 250 words & have given you a great peak into me… so until tomorrow friends.

Thanks again Mariama this is a great idea!  Cheers to 29!

 

What I Retired?!?! I am only 28? Whats NEXT?

When I introduced you to this blog, I told you we would be covering my journey to swimming an open water race in all 50 states along with hitting topics that are important to me.  This falls in the important category.  Ps a lot of the stuff I plan to write about is center on healthy living styles for the professional, especially because living healthy is important but there is also so much more to life.

My Last Signed Judges Card
Signed last placing card

Yesterday was a very nostalgic day that I want to share it with you. I judged my last horse show. I retired! Along with the emotions that I expected to feel I had the unexpected realization that I was standing in the arena where I judged my very first horse show. I started and ended my horse judging career in the same arena. This was something I did not plan on and it did not occur to me until I was about half way through the show. In fact, the decision to give up judging was made with a heavy heart but we will get to that later, now let’s focus on the beginning. You see, 7 years ago as a nervous beginner judge, I took my sister along with me to work as a ring steward in the arena.   I judged my first horse show for the Ohio Quarter Pony Association at Putnam County Fairgrounds with my sister standing next to me the whole time. On June 14, 2014 at 11:00 pm, I signed my last judges card there too this time with my sister over a hundred miles away.  Although, she did send me a text wishing she could be there with me.   I love God’s sense of humor, to bring me back to the arena that I started in to say goodbye to judging. It just so happens to be with some of my favorite showmen.

Between classes yesterday, I found myself thinking about that first day judging. I asked my sister to come to my first show and be my ring steward, keep me calm, and stop me from making a fool of myself. I expected her to just be there with me like a confidant, what I did not expect to happen was to have so much fun that day. One of my favorite judging memories comes from this first show. My sister kept everyone smiling and laughing in what is usually serious atmosphere with almost no effort. During classes either the judge or the ring steward (judges helper) tend to use hand signals to tell the announcers booth that the contestants need to change their speed, direction, or line up. One of the times I requested a speed change from the contestants, I heard the microphone click on, a 1/2 giggle 1/2 snort came across the PA. I look up at the announcers stand and they are pointing to my crazy sister. Now instead of doing the normal hand signals, my sister added a little extra spice to it. The best way I can describe what I saw to you was that my sister did a mix between baseball signals, the cha-cha and the hand-jive. I look over and my sister is dusting off one shoulder then the next, doing the hitchhike sign over each shoulder. It reminded me of the hand-jive from Grease. I started to laugh too. I knew with her around that day everything was going to be okay. At the very minimum, she would keep us laughing! Having a great first show experience made me look forward to the next one.

Selfie with Arena
I am not normally a selfie type of girl but it was that kind of day

Over the years, I have visited Putnam County Fairgrounds for different types of horse shows and each time I enjoy being there. I have watched adorable walk-trotters (beginners) and Pewees grow into strong riders. Several of the youth that were at the show yesterday were 5-6 years old at the first show and now they tower over me at almost 6 feet tall! I feel like the “cool” aunt that visits once a year. Each visit is unique and I know that I am able to help a young aspiring rider improve or polish their skills. Myself, I fell in love with horseback riding and showing at a young age.  There were several judges that really influenced my show career and encouraged me to push myself to improve.  I have enjoyed the last seven years giving back to the Ohio 4-H community.

Okay, I think you have guessed it, I REALLY LOVE judging horse shows and you are probably wondering why I am retiring.   I will admit I am a little young to retire from something that I love to do and the entire idea of retiring as a judge has been a little overwhelming. Overall, the summer of 2014 has been one of changes. You will get to meet one of the summer changes/additions in a post soon. (This addition to my life hits a new level of adorable.) Now the reason I am turning in my judges card. I want to start showing again myself and the American Quarter Horse Association does not allow someone to be a paid judge and show in the amateur division.  The classes that I want to show are only offered in the Amateur division. I have a really cool gelding that is getting trained and I am looking forward to showing again myself.  I have to have a three year quiet period to apply for my amateur card so that I can show in the classes that I like at Quarter Horse sanctioned shows.  So in reality, I may be ending one of my favorite chapters in my life… I am opening the doors for a new one. I am hanging up my judging hat and retiring my well worn out boots to return as a competitor.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day… be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom (there is more here:)

My Judges hat with the sun setting in the background.

 

I caught the sun setting on my hat during the last show

 I guess it’s time to retire the boots too

These boots were made for walking... and that's just what they did. They walked all over so many arenas!
These boots were made for walking… and that’s just what they did. They walked all over so many arenas!

 There is nothing better than watching some contesting and drinking some coffee!

mmm coffee & a little sand

 

 Before we part ways until the next time, I want to thank all the showmen that entered my arena!  Every show I judged, I learned something new.  I have been told that I have helped many kids become better showman but I have a secret: You guys taught me more!  From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!!!! Keep up the good work and make me proud!

I am so happy that this chapter in my life has been a good one and I am sure that I will one day return to the arena as a judge.  I think that if I had to put into a word I felt as I left the arena last night I would choose: Bittersweet.  The walk from the announcers booth at the end of the night to my car felt long and final.   I stopped on my way out, I snapped the final image of the day… an empty, quiet arena with the lights on after dark.  There may have been a few tears in my eyes as I pulled out of the fairgrounds knowing this chapter of my life is closing. Soon enough I will be deciding between a horse show to go to or an open water swim… and that friends leave me excited to open the next chapter of my life!

Final Shot