Monday, March 17, 2014

Critter Fun!!

Critter Fun

March 17, 2014

For those of you that have followed me for a little bit, I’m sure you’ve noticed that my posts have been a bit preachy lately. I decided when I started this blog that I wanted to speak my mind, but I also wanted to have fun with it. After reporting about my trip aboard the USS George H. W. Bush, I’ve kind of lost that “fun” aspect of my writing. I’ve pondered what I wanted to talk about for a while now. It seems that my funny side is actually quite snarky instead of funny at the moment, but I still wanted to do something to liven things up a bit and to try to bring smiles to my reader’s faces instead of just the same old thing. My solution to this dilemma is to share with you something that ALWAYS brings a smile to my face and always brightens even the worst of moods and soothes the most extreme of panic attacks... What would that be you ask? That would be to introduce you to the critters that live at Radagast Farms that make my days so much fun!

There are eight horses, a donkey, a mule, three dogs, and me and my husband that reside on our farm. I hope this year to add a couple of goats and a handful of chickens to the mix of characters, but for now, the fifteen of us are quite happy. There is usually never a dull moment either.

Let’s start by introducing the three Canine varieties that live on my hill. There’s Sassy, who aptly got her name because she likes to yap back at me when I tell her to do something. She is a little, white, English Setter/Mountain Feist mix. Her full sister Molly, who is tri color and actually more sassy than Sassy is, is the resident grouch and little old curmudgeon. These two are eight years old, almost nine and the only time they’ve ever spent a night a part was when they had to spend the night in the vet’s office after getting spayed (they howled at each other all night and all day long until I came to get them – lol). They were pretty well Queens of the Hill until the new comer, Miss Abby, came to join our gangly mob in August. Abby is a roughly one year old, black and white lab/pitt bull mix and she is full throttle 24/7. She does not know what slow down means. Needless to say, her older, more set in their way sisters have struggled in getting used to their new lot mate. It’s still very funny to me to watch the three of them together. They’re adapting, slowly, but adapting!

                                                                Miss Abby
                                                                 Miss Molly
                                             Miss Sassy

Next, let me introduce you to the resident donkey. The donkey is an aged, gelded jack that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Technically speaking, he belongs to my grandson, but I love that little critter like crazy! His name is Apple Jack or A.J. as Wayne and I call him, and he is just the coolest little guy. He has actually met me at the water tubs to get treats after being way far away from them, but hearing me tell him, “Meet me at the water buckets and I’ll give you a goody.” Trust me doubters, the first time he did it I thought it was a fluke, but he’s done it two other times so I’m pretty sure the little guy knows what I’m telling him. The other good thing about Mr. A.J. is that he smells like he’s wearing cologne all the time! If I could figure out how to bottle up Apple Jack smell, I’d be a rich, rich woman! He’s very laid back until one of the others gets in the way of his treats. He stays to himself, and he’s smart enough to find shade in the summer and cover in the winter. He’s very, very lovable, and I’ve gotten so attached to him, and I think him to me, that I’ll probably go nuts if anything happens to him before it does to me.

                                     Apple Jack & me

Then you’ll find Harry. Harry is the neighborhood mule. He’s sorrel in color with flaxen mane and tail. And what can I say about Harry? Harry is just Harry! He’s goofy as all get outs, he has absolutely no social skills, and he is just the farm comedian. He will absolutely root the horses out of the way instead of walking around them. He’ll chest block his buddy Ghost just because he can. The mares despise him, they will lay their ears back at him when he gets within six feet of them. Harry is one half of the Moron and Putz team – it varies from day to day as to who is Moron and who is Putz. But I can’t help but love him, and I do and probably only God knows why. That silly beastie can put a smile on my face about as quick as anybody!

                                       Harry and me

Now, as for the Equines on the farm, we have Ghost, Spirit, Hanz, Bentley, Maggie, Sonny, Jasper, and PJoe. There is not a one of these horses that is natured like the other. They all have very distinct and individual personalities.

Sonny is the baby. He’s just over two years old. He is buckskin in color and he is spoiled rotten. He has his routine and he does not like to get out of it. He is pretty much just like a two year old kid with mischievous things to get into and the occasional showing off time. I have been able to sit on his back a few times, just standing near the fence. And I’ve sat on his back once while Wayne led him around the lot with a halter on. All of those times he did great! I can’t wait to actually get to work with him and ride him for real! Stay tuned for info on that!!

             Sonny and his daddy! He's grown A LOT since this!

Next, there’s Jasper. Jasper will be six in May and to this point, he’s never been ridden. He’s almost solid sorrel in color except for the white bands on his front legs and sock on his back. This gentleman has been with us for almost a year and I am so excited to get to start working with him this spring and summer! He has learned in that year that he likes attention and he likes people rubbing on him and scratching on him. When he first came to us you could touch his face and that was about it. He just had never been messed with. He’s my other baby though and like Apple Jack he smells like he’s wearing cologne. One of my favorite things to do, especially after a hard day is to just go out and get a good Jasper hug and scratch him till my hands get tired! Stay tuned for info on this one too!

                                      Jasper and me

Then there’s Ghost. Ghost is an aged gelding that is flea-bitten grey in color. He is the other half of the Moron and Putz team (with Harry). Ghost thinks he’s king of hill but, he is only when Hanz lets him be. He likes to keep the girls herded up near him and keep the other boys away. His hair feels like a powder puff. He’s pretty laid back when you ride him. He was the first horse that I really felt comfortable riding by myself when I started riding. Thanks to him I’ll crawl on almost anything with 4 legs and Equine blood! Keep in mind I said Almost anything!! Anyway, he’s a grumpy little old man that I love like no body’s business!

                                         Ghost and me

PJoe is the newest member of our herd. He’s a young dun colored gelding. He’s short and stocky and has the “short man’s (horse’s)” attitude. He came to us last September and we’ve not gotten to ride him yet. That’ll come this spring too. We may have to change his name depending on how he rides and gets accustomed to having the saddle back on him again. Keep your fingers crossed for us and him! 

                                     PJoe & me being silly
Mr. Bentley is probably by far the most laid back critter on the farm. He has the calmest demeanor of any critter I’ve ever seen. Even when he’s eating and Abby is running 90 mph around him, he is just as calm and never flinchy. He’s black in color with just a little white but he is a giant baby! Bentley smells like he’s wearing cologne too. He is the ultimate gentleman and the gentle horse on the place! 

                                         Bentley and me

The last of the boys on the place is Mr. Hanz. Hanz belongs to my grandson and he is a former barrel racer (the horse, not the grandson yet). He’s retired and hanging out with us. He’s dun colored with white on his face and his legs. He’s a gentle horse with little people and that’s really all he can deal with now. No matter how hard my grandson tried to get him to trot the last time he worked him, he wouldn’t. He got up to a faster walk and that’s it. He keeps Ghost in check in the field and lets him play boss occasionally. But he’s not one to take being pushed around and will flat kick those heels up if one steps over a line toward him. The only one he tolerates with no questions asked and no issues is Apple Jack and those two are usually pretty close together.

                                            Mr. Hanz
The two mares are somewhat similar to each other, in that they are both terrible divas. I do believe Spirit (the sorrel and white paint) is far more a diva than Maggie (sorrel w/ flaxen mane/tail) is. If Spirit were as dainty as she thinks she is, she’d be the size of a teacup poodle. But alas, she is quite a hefty gal. She’s very stubborn. Maggie isn’t quite as bad as Spirit, but she doesn’t stray too far from that diva-ness. Maggie is old but she is kind and she’s good with little people. 

Spirit and me
                                           Miss Maggie
Well, now you’ve met the whole herd – Canine to Hybrid Equid to Equine. We are a different kind of herd than most, but we’re a herd and that’s what matters. I never thought I’d ever enjoy working so hard for something as I do with working with these animals! I am by no means an expert on anything to do with them, but I have learned a lot over the last eighteen months, and I learn something new each and every day! I hope to bring you more stories about those critters, especially once we start working with the boys and getting them under saddle! I’m excited! I only hope they are!

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