Our Home and My Shop

The ranch.

Click images for full size.

Go to the Reil Ranch/Garden Valley Current Weather & Web Cam Page

Click here to view VR panorama of our ranch.

Elk in my lower pasture.

This image is looking south behind the shop at the Spring elk calving.

Eel on north hill.

Looking north from the shop at 60 returning elk in the Spring.

Click the VR link above to view a 1.1 MB QuickTime VR panorama of our spread. Place your cursor on the image after it downloads, hold the left mouse button down, and move the cursor left or right to pan the image through the full 360° panorama. This image sequence was photographed during the height of the summer heat, with temperatures reaching 112°, and without any precipitation for several months, so everything is extremely dry. Click here to view an early winter panorama before the snow got really deep. I should also add that I used a wide angle lens setting for both panoramas, so the mountains are actually much closer and higher than they look.

Web Gallery and WebCam

I now have an iWeb Gallery where I post photo"Events." This is a very nicely laid out .Mac feature that I have recently learned to use. I have a number of photo events on there now showing the progress of our horrendous winter. I recommend you click on an event and then at the bottom of the page click on "Slideshow" to view them quickly in full screen. Please go to http://gallery.mac.com/ronaldaun to view my winter images. I also now have a web cam and current weather page. The web cam operates most days during daylight hours. It can be viewed at http://www.frontiernet.net/~gnreil/weather/LWC/gvweather.html

The Ranch, Shop, & Barn

Bear cub.

This page will show you my new barn, home, and shop. I have retired and moved from Boise, Idaho, to a ranch near the tiny mountain town of Crouch, in Garden Valley, Idaho. We are raising horses, one miniature donkey named Daffodil, and a lot of other critters. We also have many wild critters, such as elk, wolves, foxes, wild turkeys, bears, bears, and more bears, and even moose. I hated to give up my beautiful shop in Boise, but the ranch has a beautiful view in all directions (see VR panorama above), a commercial steel shop building that is four times larger than my old shop, and has a separate fully finished office space, and even has 15' eves along both sides that provide covered storage for my tractors, cord wood, and iron. The move took a full five months to accomplish, and that included two Allied Moving Company truck loads, two Penski U-haul truck loads, and countless loads in my small trailer. I have since obtained a 16' flatbed trailer for hauling hay or equipment, but I didn't have it at the time of the move.

At this stage of my life, tearing down and setting up a new shop, let alone my home, seemed all but beyond my ability to do, especially after having had a very serious heart attack four days before I retired, another one less than a year later, and four to date. However, I have surprised myself and got the new shop up and 100% operational before the snow started to fall, and a full year before my projected schedule date. To accomplish this I had to get the exhaust hood suspended, the 12" double wall chimney and cricket installed, the draft inducer system installed, the propane system plumbed in, and numerous other tasks accomplished, some of which I will mention in this narrative. There was a serious deadline associated with moving here, the onset of winter. This location had 107" of snow last winter, and that was not considered a heavy winter. Over 200" can accumulate some seasons. So along with the the normal work associated with making a move like this, I had to also locate and purchase a 28 KW emergency power generator, get it tied in with our underground propane line, and hooked up to the automatic electrical transfer switch. I also had to buy a tractor and a very large Lorenz snow blower, snow blade, and other accessories, install a 1000 gallon propane tank, and a 300' underground propane pipe line to service the house, shop, and generator. Needless to say, that was a tall order for someone who had just had a heart attack. Whatever, it is now done, and I am still alive and kicking, and I hope to remain so for a good while into the future.

The shop has been quite a project. The ceiling is 24' off the floor, so accessing it was a challenge. This image of the south-east corner of the shop shows the exhaust hood, Acorn table, power hammer, fly-press, two of the five mounted post vises, one of five forges, steel storage rack, and the storage loft above the office. The west side has mainly a work bench, but also includes a bead blaster, air compressor, and various other post or floor mounted tools. The snow blower in the image mounts on my smaller tractor. This image is looking south at the office space and storage loft above it. There are four anvils of various types mounted in the shop, including this wonderful "new" farrier's anvil that was a gift to me. Because it has a glass smooth work surface, I have it mounted on the Acorn table for use with fine nonferrous metal work, mostly silver and copper. It was the property of a lady farrier down in the wilds of Owyhee County, as was the hammer laying on it in the image. It is bedded on 1/8" thick sheet lead, as are all of my anvils, so it does not ring or transmit noise to the Acorn table.

Our new home, with its porch on three sides, was very much worth the effort required to make this move, even after my recent heart attack. The 4" diameter steel flagpole in the image was a TV antenna mast when we moved in, but I changed it to a flag pole after installing satellite TV. The 8" bronze flagpole cleat came off of a 1932, 37' Alden Coastwise Cruiser. I like things that have a history and that are not foreign made.

The view (taken with a wide angle lens) in all directions from our home is spectacular, especially to the south and southwest. This last image, taken to the SW, shows an incoming thunderstorm that packed 100+ mph winds, and took the roofs off several homes in the area, the result of a micro-burst. I don't know why, but I felt this was going to be quite a storm, so I photographed its full development and impact when it arrived. We had three of these storms our first summer. This image, taken inside the house, and looking south, shows the view, with Anderson Creek at the lower right crossing our lower pasture.

Here is the first simple piece of work that I produced in the new shop, a bird cage suspension bracket. So the circle has been closed, and I am now once again up and running. The biggest difference now is I no longer have to get up and go to work, although I now have far more work to do than ever before, I just enjoy it a lot more now. I at first thought I would be spending endless hours at the forge during the winter, but after having experienced three winters now, I know that was a pipe-dream. Although now that I have the 7' wide, 1200 pound Lorenz snow blower, clearing the snow after a two or three foot snowfall isn't the chore it was at first. My driveway is a quarter mile long, and I have a very large parking/turn-around area, so snow removal is a very big job. The Lorenz allows me to clear all the snow after a big snowfall in only 45 minutes!

We have already accomplished a whale of a lot since moving here. Our first summer here I singlehandedly put in over a mile of new five wire double grounded New Zealand electric fencing, repaired or rebuilt a lot more existing fencing, built a horse arena, put in an 8' high deer/elk fence around our 50' x 80' garden area, and a lot more. One thing for sure, my first purchase for the property, a Kubota Model 5030 hydrostatic drive tractor, made it all possible, especially auguring the fence post holes.

I am also now very active in our local volunteer fire department. Garden Valley has one of the finest fire departments in the state, and it is tops in the county. I was an engineer, driving the fire trucks and operating the pumps when we arrived on the fire scene, but now I am support only, filling SCBA bottles etc., following my last heart event. We have had a number of very big fires, including one that caused a fatality, so our job is very important here. It is also very challenging due to having only two paved roads, the rest being narrow winding mountain roads and trails. We handle all emergency situations, white water river rescue, vehicle accidents, structure fires, and wild-land fires. Our equipment is all wheel drive, including our brand new truck. (In the image I am in the bottom center next to Cami, our lone female fireman.) Due to the very rugged country here, we are sometimes unable to reach the fire scene in time, or reach it at all, and that makes it very challenging, and sometimes heart breaking. I love the work however, and the group of guys I work with are the best there is.

Other Events

A lot has taken place since we moved here. We now have three horses of our own, one miniature donkey named Daffodil, and for a year we had two boarding horses. One of our horses came into my life not long ago, a superb 4 year old Quarter Horse gelding named Scamp. Actually his full name is "Definitelee A. Scamp." I elected to finish Scamp's training myself, so a 45' diameter round pen had to be purchased. Working in the round pen with Scamp is a joy. He is extremely affectionate and wants to please me in the pen or out. Training a horse is quite a challenge, but fortunately there are a great many instructional DVDs available that lead the way. We finally put Scamp under saddle about a month ago.

The New Barn

The time arrived to build a barn so my horses and other animals will have protection from the weather, especially in the winter. At this writing the barn is about 1/4th complete. The construction of the barn will follow this pattern, which is a barn Bruce, my barn builder, built last year, but this is a significantly smaller barn than mine. The one I am having built will also have a 14' x 48' awning, or shed-off, running down the east, or right, side in the image.

I was involved in construction for roughly 30 years, and in all that time I have never seen construction that matched the workmanship my barn builder is doing for me. Bruce puts his heart into his work and it shows. This is his main job for this season, and he is putting everything into it. This image of his 2 x 12 diagonal bracing is just one example of the exceptional quality, and it is backed with a 2x10 as well. Everything is screwed glued, nailed, and bolted. The 1/2" diameter bolts are put in after things are stabilized and the glue has fully cured. Bruce can easily use 12 large cylinders of glue in a morning.

As Bruce said when I made the comment that his barns will last a hundred years, "I expect them to last at least 150." I think they may just do that. The roof will be steel, in order to shed the snow, but the rest of the barn will be rough cut blue-stain Pine lumber from our local mill here in Garden Valley. It is all milled from standing dead trees. The flooring in the loft will be 1 x 8 rough cut, and the walls will be 1 x 12 board and batten.

The floor area in the barn, counting the loft, will be 3072 s.f., with an additional 672 s.f. under the shed-off roof, for a total of 3744 s.f. The ground floor will be broom finished concrete, with a trowel finish in the tack room. The area under the shed-off roof will remain dirt, actually compacted decayed granite, "gruss." That is for the safety of the animals when they come running in. (I later changed it to 3/4"- road mix) The four stalls will have Dutch doors facing into the shed-off outside, and a heavy swinging or rolling door inside. The design allows for tubular steel gate panels to be mounted on the posts that support the shed-off roof, so they can be used as dividers between the stall doors in the summer, and then swung over on their hinges across adjacent posts to create a full length fence that will force the animals to come in through the end of the shed-off roof instead of the side. That is to prevent them from being buried or injured when tons of slide-off snow comes off the roof periodically in the winter.

The end of the barn facing into the front pasture will open into a corral to make penning the horses easy. The corral will also have an additional 10' gate in it that will allow me to erect the portable steel panel round pen outside of the arena, but have its gate nested within the corral gate, so that I can easily take horses directly into the training pen from the corral.

Well, that is about it at this writing. I will post the latest barn image as the work progresses. At this posting the loft floor is complete, and the upper level work is beginning. I feel very fortunate to have found such a fine builder. I doubt there is another builder in the entire State of Idaho who can match the quality that Bruce puts into his work.

Barn Construction Update

Barn image

It has been quite a while since I posted an update to this page, due mostly to the horrific work load associated with getting the barn, corral, and training pen built before the winter snows arrive, which they now have. The corral image shows the training pen with its 12' wide gate panel nested into the 12' wide swing gate opening in the corral. There is another 10' wide swing gate in the corral fence to the left of the image that leads into the front pasture.

The water line to supply the two hydrants that are located on either end of the barn was also a trial. The contractor I had dig the ditch to lay the line to connect to my well supply line, hooked the main power feed to the house and ripped the transformer off the power pole, and out of the breaker box, in the process. It was two days before it was fully repaired, but the result ended up being positive for me. The power company put in an underground feed to the barn when they pulled the new supply cable, and the result was my total new service hook-up fee for the barn was only $85! The contractor's insurance covered all of the damages, which amounted to thousands of dollars.

The barn is almost complete, and in fact is more complete than this image shows. The stall door framing and wall siding under the shed-off roof are now complete, which they were not in the above image. Only the doors remain yet to be built and hung. The loft doors have been built but not hung, and the big back lower doors are being built as I type this. Possibly tomorrow they will be hung, closing in the loft, which currently has 4 tons of grass hay and 6 tons of alfalfa stored in it. (I loaded 20 tons of alfalfa and grass hay into the barn loft in the Fall of 2007, and had room for perhaps 5 tons more.) The back doors will provide a more comfortable working environment on the ground floor for Bruce and his son Ben to complete the remaining door construction work. Right now the wind whistles through the barn pretty strongly at times.

The concrete work was an agony. It is very difficult to get anyone to bid on concrete work here, let alone do it in a timely fashion. Not only that, but the nearest source for concrete is over 50 miles away over mountainous roads. We had countless long delays, and what should have taken no more than a week to complete took closer to 6 weeks. Whatever, the work is complete now, and the floor is very solid. It varies from 5" to 12" in thickness, and with the reinforcing, air entrainment, and six sack mix, it should never fail from freeze-thaw or general wear and tear.

The lifting beam above the loft door opening is used for raising and lowering the hay elevator each Fall when it is time to load the loft with hay. The 22' long elevator is stored in the center of the loft floor. The lifting beam is a rough cut, completely clear, Pine 4" x 10" timber 12' in length, and one of the most beautiful pieces of lumber I have ever seen. I beveled the ends and mounted the pulley suspension plates on the end, then coated it with many dilute coats of Linseed oil so they would soak in deeply and preserve the beautiful wood.

The hay I have stored in the loft presently is enough for two full years, now that I only have two horses and Daffy, the miniature donkey, but I am looking into getting a mule sometime soon, so it may actually be needed this year. I have been learning a lot about mules and am discovering they are superb mountain trail animals.

I have been doing a lot of work on the hay lowering system. I elected to lower the bales down through the trapdoor access hatch, instead of using a hay chute, to conserve space below. The western (left) lower bay is for equipment storage, mostly tractor implements for both tractors, and a chute would require more room than I wanted to allow it. I designed and built a rather elaborate system to allow easy transporting of 100 pound bales of hay to the trapdoor hatch, and then very easy lifting and lowering to the floor below. I wanted my 13 year old daughter, Natalie, to be able to easily handle the job alone, and this system makes it very easy.

The system is based on two pieces of equipment, a hay transport dolly to move the hay down the length of the loft to the hatchway, and a lowering fork to lift the bale off the dolly and securely hold it while it is lowered to the floor below. A trip cord, not shown, automatically dumps the bale when it reaches a preset height above the floor. The block and tackle raise the fork back up for lowering of more bales, all easily done from the loft floor while working alone.

The dolly, shown here upright and complete, has two slots in the top to make sliding the hay fork tines under the bale very easy. The dolly is very strongly built, having a load limit well in excess of 1000 pounds, which is total overkill for what it does, but it will also be used when raising or lowering the 22' long hay elevator each Fall, and that will put considerably more of a load on it.

The hay fork was made to be as light in weight as possible, be very strong, and at the same time securely hold the bale when in use. The actual forks I made from an old 2" wide Jeep leaf spring I pulled out of my scrap pile. I cut it in half, flattened it, and was then able to use the shackle holes as 1/2" diameter hinge pin holes. The forks fold up when the unit is not in use to allow easy storage on the wall. This image shows a bale of alfalfa suspended about 6" above the floor. The white laid rope caused the bale to spin, and the rope to twist, so I replaced it with an old yellow Kernmantle climbing rope, one of many that I have retired over the years. This one is special though as it saw duty in Antarctica.

The final system looks like this. The dolly is bumping up against a 3" high angle iron bump rail to prevent it from rolling into the open hatch. The rope is tied off to a 12" bronze yachting cleat that allows a slow controlled lowering of the bale to the floor below. Use of the cleat for lowering is not necessary however, because the 3:1 reduction in the block and tackle reduces the load to only about 30 pounds when lowering. The picture shows the bale in place on the dolly with the fork under it, and everything ready for a lower. In use the operator only has to give a pull on the rope and the forks lift up in the front and snatch the bale off the cart effortlessly. Then it is a simple matter to lower the bale to the floor below. The lift point of the fork is designed to tilt the bale back into the frame of the fork to make it totally secure during the entire operation.

The only things still remaining to be done in the trapdoor hatch area are construction of the permanent ladder, and rigging of a counterweight system to make lifting the trapdoor easy and safe from below. BTW, the trapdoor has a handle on it that I forged from some beautiful old wrought iron, and it would be really much better spent mounted on some fine furniture, but I guess it does add class to the loft.   :-)

Having the hay safely stored in the loft is a wonderful feeling for me. This winter I will not be providing free meals to the dozens of elk that were coming in to enjoy my hay when I had it stored under the shop eve last winter. Feeding the elk was not so bad, but the destruction they caused to my fences when coming and going was.

There is one last item that is a tremendous improvement over what we had last winter. Bruce also built a roof over my emergency generator so I will no longer have to come out at 2:00 AM and dig the totally buried generator out of an 8' high pile of snow that slid off the roof during a blizzard, and I am serious about an 8 foot high pile of snow. The generator is a necessity here. According to Idaho Power Company we had 276 power outages during the last 12 months! The roof, like all of Bruce's work, is hell for stout. It is planked in the same 1" x 10" rough-cut blue-stain Pine that the barn is built out of. All of the lumber was cut to our specifications by our local mill here in Garden Valley. Sometimes the snow doesn't slide off, but just slides out, creating an amazing overhang. This overhang on the shop's shed-off roof is almost 5', and potentially deadly to any person or animal that gets under it. The snow is about 4' deep above the 3" thick ice foot.

Milestone Reached

I am very happy to be able to add this update. This past week I was able to open the corral gate and let the critters into the corral and the shed-off area, a very important milestone in the ongoing construction of the barn. Our horses, and little donkey, Daffodil, were able to survive last winter's severe weather and deep snow, but it was very hard on them. I didn't want to put them through that again this year. They now have a place to escape the wind, rain, and snow. This image shows Daffy under the shed-off happily escaping a 4° F, 25 mph wind. We have now had a week of very cold, and sometimes windy and snowy weather, so the opening up of the shed-off came just in time.

In order to give the animals access to the shed-off and corral, it was first necessary to get the big doors on the back of the barn built and hung, which they now are. We also had to build and hang at least the lower stall Dutch doors, and they are also in place now. The upper Dutch doors are built but not yet hung. We have hung the loft doors too which keeps the blowing snow and rain out of the hay and off my hay handing equipment. The only doors yet to be built are the two large lower front doors, the least important of the barn doors. They will be built in the next week or so.

We are now having to learn a new feeding routine, but the critters are doing remarkably well. Scamp, my personal saddle horse, is still a youngster and loves to do a swoop and grab, running off with a big mouthful of hay from the wheelbarrow, then he stands and "smiles" at me as he happily munches his prize, but we are working on correcting his playful but potentially dangerous behavior. Daffy is very dainty in her actions, as she walks gently up, takes a very small and polite bite, and steps away as she eats her stolen goods, but she poses no physical threat to anyone due to her diminutive size, so I will let her continue to enjoy her ill gotten gains. Glow stays outside the corral and politely waits for her food to be placed in her feed tub. I only have to let Scamp see that I have the dressage whip laying on the top of the hay in the wheelbarrow, and he jumps high in the air, kicks out with all four feet, and gallops out of the corral to wait patiently with Glow for his food too. Since Daffy gets fed inside the corral, and the horses outside, this arrangement is going to work out well.

We may soon have a new member of of our critter family. I am considering obtaining a fine saddle mule to join our small herd. I have been researching mules and find them to be truly remarkable animals, often smarter than the people who own them.  :-)

Closing In - The End is in Sight
20 December 2006

Image of barn with doors finished.

Click on images for full sized pictures.

It has been a very long hard project since we first broke ground at the beginning of summer, but we are finally reaching the end point in this long project. The above image shows all the doors are now built and in place. So we are fully closed in against the weather now. The electrical work should be complete and ready for inspection in another two days. To say the least it is a wonderful feeling, and it is a pretty nice Christmas present to be about done with the barn for this winter. I should soon be able to kick back next to the wood-stove and just watch it snow....not. I will build the stalls and tack room in the spring when it warms up. Working in the barn now, when it is often well below zero, is tough on an old body, especially the bare hands when doing bare handed work such as electrical wiring.

I guess my closure for this narrative update would not be complete without a picture of one of the happy users of the new barn. Daffy (Daffodil) loves the shed-off as a great place to take the early morning sun or get out of the 3° wind.   :-)

Daffy enjoying the sunshine.

Done for the Winter

The interior of the barn is complete now, so far as the barn itself is concerned. The tack room and stalls still have to be put in, but that can wait until this Spring and warmer weather. In this first image you are looking north toward the back of the barn. The door trim/bump strips and center overlap strips had not been installed yet, nor had the permanent ladder, when this was taken. The same applies to image2 and image3. It is wonderful having the the small tractor and its implements out of the shop.

The ladder has now been completed, and like the rest of the barn, it is hell for stout. The rungs are held in place on each side with two 3-1/2" drive screws, glue, and a 1-1/2" x 1/8" covering steel strip that is screwed into place with two 3-1/2" drive screws immediately above and below on each side of each rung. The anchoring of the ladder is also very solid. The base is anchored into the concrete with 3-1/2" anchor bolts, and the top is bolted solidly into the structure of the barn. If the ladder is struck with the hand the barn resounds like a drum. The entire ladder was coated with a Linseed oil compound called In-Wood. There are steel hooks on each of the three extended rungs for hanging things on, power cords or buckets of tools, etc., that are being carried up or down the ladder.

Well, I will close so I can get some work done. I will include this picture in my closure however. I took this about 30 minutes ago. It is a Bald Eagle in a tree in my lower east pasture. He has been there for over an hour now. It is not as clear as it should be due to lightly falling snow. We have a lot of Bald Eagles here this winter. You may click on the image for a larger picture.

Bald Eagle in a tree in my lower pasture.

New Addition

We have a new addition to the family, at least our horse family. Peppie, a nick name for "Definitlee Cayenne," her registry name, joined us on the 22nd of March, one week from the day I am writing this. Peppie is the horse in the center of the image. The mare on the far right is Peppie's mother Alice, and also the mother of my other horse, Scamp (Definitlee A. Scamp). So I now have the brother, Scamp, and sister, Peppie, both offspring of Alice. The name Peppie was the result of the name "Cayenne," being changed to Pepper for short, then to Peppie. Peppie is almost 4 years old at this writing. This image is of Peppie shortly after she was born. That is her mother Alice next to her. Peppie will start her work as a brood mare for us soon, as well as being Natalie's new competition saddle horse to take Glow's place. Natalie has achieved a skill level in her drill team riding with the "Mustang Sallies" that requires a more responsive, younger, and higher quality animal. Glow will become my wife, Gretchen's, saddle horse.

Some Difficult Times

We have had some difficult setbacks lately. My gelding Scamp had a disagreement with an elk and almost lost an eye. After several weeks of almost constant attention and work, including making an eye patch for him to wear, along with visits from our vet, we saved his eye, although he has some scars to show for his encounter with the elk and a fence post.

Then two months ago, Glow, my daughter Natalie's competition drill team horse, was attacked by a cougar. The injury was severe, and normally would have been reason to put a horse down. However, after our vet Olin determined that almost miraculously no tendons had been cut, I decided to invest the tremendous amount of time and energy, as well as money, necessary to save this beautiful animal. Pure serendipity placed the cougar attack three days following the completion of the stalls in our new barn, so I had a place to keep Glow in isolation, as well as to cross-tie her while doing the extensive medical work needed to save her life. I should add that Daffodil, our miniature donkey, has kept Glow company since her injury. 

Following Glow's attack over two months ago I have not been able to leave Glow unattended for more than a few hours at a time, a very large time commitment on my part. Her stall bedding needs to be kept clean at all times to maintain as clean an environment as possible for her leg injury, and her leg dressing needs to be removed, the wound cleaned, medicated, and redressed, every other day, requiring an hour to an hour and a half period of high stress work each time. Working under and behind a 1200 pound horse on a severely injured leg can be extremely dangerous, especially when she has not been tranked. Only the fact that Glow is unbelievably good natured and cooperative makes it possible.

The following images are arranged so the rather gory image of the injury is the last one. So if you don't want to see what a cougar did to Glow, don't open the bottom image link.

Glow, After Her Injury, Cross-Tied for a Dressing Change

Glow and Me After a Leg Dressing Change, Her Tail in My Hand

Cougar and Fence Wire Injuries to Glow's Left Rear Leg

At the time of this writing Glow is doing remarkably well. Her horrific wound has closed in completely covering the bone, and now has a fairly smooth, level, pink surface of granular tissue, with skin closing in on all sides. We do have to periodically trim off proud flesh, messy, but not difficult. The bone has been completely covered with new tissue, and there are no signs of a limp when Glow walks, hopefully an indication that the bone has not suffered damage from its surface drying out. It may not even be necessary to proceed with the planned skin grafts. 

The fly season is now in full swing here, and even with constant cleaning of Glow's and Daffy's stalls, the flies have been an issue with Glow. So I ordered a fully automatic full barn insect spray system that will periodically puff out a vapor of safe insecticide to keep the stalls fly free. It will be arriving Wednesday, and then my next installation work will begin to get it quickly installed and operational. I would probably not have spent a $1000 for such a system if it were not for Glow's situation. I wonder if Glow knows what a fortunate horse she is. The fact that she never moves her injured leg while I am working on it, even while we are slicing off proud flesh, and her other three legs are moving all over the place, tells me she knows more than might be supposed.  :-)

Update on Glow - 26 July 07

Today has been one to celebrate Walt. I got the automatic barn fly-spray system fully installed and operating. It is on auto now, and is set to fire 5 times a day for 60 seconds each time. I will lower that to 45 seconds tomorrow afternoon after I am sure the system is fully purged of the fresh water that I used to set it up and adjust the pressure to 175 psi. I did run it for 120 seconds the first time after putting the insecticide in the tub, which should be enough to purge the lines and nozzles. It will run for 120 days before needing a refill of insecticide.

That isn’t the big news though. Keith, our senior vet, came over at 6:00 PM to see Glow and trim proud flesh, as well as work on Scamp’s “Scratches,” a problem that results from eating alfalfa in the intense sunlight and heat only if they have patches of white skin....live and learn. He pronounced Glow as 100% sound!!! We trotted her around the parking area while he watched her, and he checked her leg, tendons, and wound closely, then pronounced her 100% sound. All we are doing now with our work on her wound is insuring she doesn’t end up with an ugly scar. We are doing purely cosmetic work now. She will be ready to go back to work on the Drill team as soon as the skin has grown in and we have her muscles toned back up. Keith wants Natalie to start riding her three times a week starting Monday, with the wound uncovered!

He wants the wound to dry out while she rides in order to slow the growth of proud flesh. Keeping it bandaged and wet encourages the growth, which just extends our total healing time because we then have to slice the proud flesh off or the skin can’t grow in properly, as we did today. As soon as she comes back from each ride I will clean the wound thoroughly, and dress it as I have been doing.

What a moment it was when Keith gave us the information that she is 100% sound. I think that lifted a huge weight off Natalie’s back, and gave her back her summer, and for sure it impacted me intensely. I had tears in my eyes when I heard his words. The day she got the wound I had to make the decision to put her down or start this long and very difficult treatment process, with only about a 20% hope that she would even become pasture sound. The possibility of her reaching 100% soundness, and Natalie being able to ride her again was not even discussed as a possibility.

After our work on Glow, we had to shift to Scamp’s "Scratches." We tranked him and then removed all the scabs and shaved the white areas on his left rear and left front legs. It took about an hour to do. We then medicated him and put him back in the round pen to recover from the trank. I have daily work to do on him for a while, but it isn’t horrific, just a cleaning and spraying on of medication...not that he will let me do it, but I will try my best. I will certainly also try not to get myself hurt. We have been through much too much horse stuff this season to sustain an injury now, and for sure, Scamp is just the horse that could do it. He is young, highly spirited, very powerful, and very fast.

Glow - 1 Sept 07

Today Glow took part in her first drill team practice since her cougar attack three+ months ago. The three hour practice was all done at a trot or lope, and she did amazingly well. Each time they stopped for a rest period I checked her over, and after an hour in the arena, due to her heavy sweating, I elected to take her out for the remainder of the practice. I didn't want her to over-stress any out of shape muscles or make her too sore to comfortably do a light work-out tomorrow and each day this week.

Immediately after the drill practice started, Glow seemed to be right at home. She needed no prodding with the spurs to get up into a lope, and had no problem keeping up with the rest of the horses. She wanted to run. She seemed to really enjoy being back in the arena again. Natalie was equally pleased to be back on Glow after a very long three months. In actuality, the three months was a remarkably short recovery period. We expected that it would take a minimum of a year before Glow would be under saddle again. Seeing her back in the arena, working as smoothly as if she had never been absent a day, was a very gratifying experience for me. We now have to work on toning up her muscles so she can participate in at least part of the State competition that will be held one week from today. We have one more practice next Thursday, and her performance and ability then will determine if she can take part in State in anything more than the opening ceremony. State competition or not, Glow is back!  Smiley

State Drill Team Finals

As can be seen in this image, Glow was able to take part in the State drill team finals. This particular part was done out on a road where they went through their various routines and were not allowed to step off the pavement. You can see the leg dressing is still on Glow's left rear leg, but that was permissible so long as we informed them in advance. This was the first routine in the morning and I was unable to join Natalie to help her tack up Glow, and the person who did help got the leg wraps on wrong, but I don't think anyone noticed so it was a non issue. I was held up by the Chief Parish forest fire when I tried to drive down early in the morning to join Natalie, who had stayed down at the fair grounds over night so she would be ready to ride early in the morning. Natalie's drill team, "The Mustang Sallys," fielded 12 riders. They did very well considering it was their first State competition.

Winter 07/08

This winter was a corker. I gave up trying to keep a tally of the snowfalls when we began to get blizzards with very high winds. How do you measure a snowfall when there are areas blown bare, and others with 6' snowdrifts. The official snow measurements for Boise county record depths from 130" to 200"+, so our snow depth here falls somewhere between those two extremes. Although it is the 30th of March we are still getting additional snow but it is now melting much faster then it is arriving. Here are a few images taken this winter. I have already linked to several of these in my narratives above, so you may see a picture or two for the second time here.

14' to 16' high snow berm in our parking area

Snow between barn and house

Snow berm in Crouch next to my Jeep

Natalie next to dog house

Natalie and generator

Gretchen and Dewey

Lorenz after a workout

Entryway porch

Shop eve snow accumulation

Barn slide-off snow

Inside shed-off

Thank you for visiting my page. I no longer place my email address on the Web, but you may contact me by phone at (208) 462-4028. I am happy to take your call, but be aware that I raise horses and have ranch work to tend to, so I may not be able to come tot he phone at the time you call. I ask that you call back later if I am not available at the time you call. We do not have cell service here in the mountains, so my phone calls are not free therefore I do not return calls.

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©Golden Age Forge

28 Jan 13