Saturday, January 30, 2010

Story of a Rescue Mare

Those of you who post on COTH, shhhhhh. Over there, I am "the anonymous donor."

Earlier, I blogged about the fact that I was a volunteer for the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program. As such, I'm in contact with the members of a lot of other placement and rescue organizations. We try to keep each other informed about things that might concern various groups.

Around Thanksgiving, last year, I was contacted by a rescue organization that helps place horses that are in the kill pen at a notorious auction in New Holland, PA. This mare had raced at Finger Lakes and they wanted to give me a heads up that she was there. I knew the name. She was a lovely creature named Ducky's Ho Oh, who we had listed, in 2007. And she had sold, the trainer thought, to a very good home. Apparently not.

Well, I did NOT want her to go to slaughter. Luckily, a woman I knew, in Virginia, said she could take her, but she didn't have the money to buy and transport her. So, I gave a big sigh, spent the money, and told all of my friends that their Christmas present would be very small because I had spent it all on a horse. I have good friends. They were all glad that I did what I did.

Here she is when she first arrived at my friend's farm. The white stuff all over her is Gold Bond Medicated Powder because she had a severe case of rain rot, a fungus that attacks the skin. She was also loaded with worms, had a wound on her knee, a wire cut on her leg and was pretty skinny.



My friend is a wonderful horsewoman. Here is Ducky a few days ago. Notice the big belly.





Well, there is a reason for that big belly. Ducky is pregnant. And my friend is tickled pink. At first, we didn't know who the baby daddy was, and were speculationg on everything from a Thoroughbred, to a Quarter Horse, to a donkey. But, we since found out that it is, indeed, a Thoroughbred. She won't be able to register it because the guy who owned the stallion and Ducky is being a @##$%$^^& about it, but she doesn't care. She hasn't had a baby to raise in a long time, and is looking forward to it.

So that's the story. It's not ended yet, and won't be for many years to come. Instead of going to slaughter, Ducky will become a Mommy and will have many happy years with good people to take care of her.

And, yes, I will post pictures of the baby, though it won't be born until sometime around June or July.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Warm and Cozy

Last week, while on my jaunt to PetSmart, I picked up a heated mat. I was hoping that Gina would use it. At 11, she's my oldest cat, and I have noticed that she doesn't go up and down stairs as well as she used to. I keep the house at 65, to try and conserve energy, and I was hoping that she would appreciate the mat. What do you think?


Of course, the reason that I had to buy the pad is because big bad Leon appropriated her heated bed. He barely fits.



And, just because I love them, here is Becky, who is always where I am.



And Rachael, who knows where the sun would be, if there were any.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lake Effect Snow

This is what happens when you live near a large lake, and it gets very cold. The wind blows across the lake and picks up moisture. It dumps that moisture, in the form of snow when it hits dry land. Right now, it's 18 degrees (supposed to go down to the single digits tonight)and the wind is blowing hard. There is a road right in front of my house, but you can hardly see the cars.





Good thing I got my grocery shopping done before this started. Nice to be home, all safe and cozy with the snow falling and the wind howling outside. Chalk one up for being retired.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lazy Day

I have absolutely nowhere to go today, for the first time in several days. I was getting a bit over scheduled, and was beginning to wonder if I was actually retired, or if I just had acquired a new bunch of stuff to do to stress myself out. So, I am going to do this all day.



I have a book to read, a lovely, comfortable couch to take a snooze on and kitties to pet. Should be a lovely day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

This Isn't New York City

I know that when a lot of people think of New York State, the first thing that comes to mind is New York City. I can't tell you how often people on forums have said to me that it must be nice to be so close to "The City." But, we're not close, and I am very happy about that, because I'm not a city girl. When I was young, this area was still pretty much country, and, even now, you don't have to go very far to be surrounded by farms and woods.

Western New York State is anywhere from six to seven hours away from New York City. It includes the Finger Lakes Region, which, for sheer beauty, matches any area that I have seen.



We have Letchworth State Park, which is often called the Grand Canyon of the East.



And, thousands of little nooks and crannies, just full of beautiful things to see.



It even has a beautiful goat named Isobelle, shown here with her Mom, Narcissa. Their Lady is a good friend of mine.



I remember that whenever we went for a trip out of state, when I was young, my Mother would always sigh a big sigh and say "Ahhhhh, beautiful New York State" when we drove back into the state. And, you know what? I still agree with her.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Glasses


Get a life, Louise! I can just hear people saying that, because I'm blogging about getting new glasses. Does it make a difference if I say that these are the first glasses that I have purchased in over 30 years?

I always had an office in the factory. And, in the factory, you had to have safety glasses, which the company provided. They certainly weren't fancy, especially in the beginning, but they were serviceable. So, being the thrifty (aka cheap) person that I am, I made do.

My eye insurance lasts for six weeks after I quit working, and I haven't had a new pair of glasses for a couple of years, so yesterday I did the deed, while I still had the insurance. Insurance paid for the exam, but I had to buy the glasses. Talk about sticker shock! Luckily, I found a frame on clearance that I liked, for 50% off. And, because of that, I got 50% off of the lenses, also. Still, I gulped a bit as I shelled out the money.

But, they're quite spiffy, I think, and I can't get over how light they are. Plus, I can read again, without having to take my glasses off! And, yes, as you can probably tell from the thickness of the lenses in the picture, I'm as blind as a bat without them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Exploring Again

After my mopes yesterday, I decided that today I really needed to go out and about. I mentioned earlier that I had noticed that there were a lot of new stores in my area. So, I decided to explore some of them.

The first place I went was called Hobby Lobby. It was, not surprisingly, filled with crafty things. I'm not a big crafter, so I left there empty handed. But, it was a nice place, clean, well organized and with very friendly staff.



The next place I stopped was at Petsmart. Ok, ok, I have been there many times, but I am totally unable to get anywhere near the place without seeing what there was that I could give the cats. I ended up with a bundle of stuff.



I never should have stopped in the third place. I have noticed a bakery near me, but never took the time to stop in. Today, I did. All I can say is "Yum!!!" I came out of there with several goodies. Sigh, so much for the diet I was supposed to start at the beginning of the year.



After the bakery, I had to go home, because a couple of the things that I bought required refrigeration. I unloaded the baked goods first, because of this. See what I mean by "Yum?"



Then, I started to work on the pet stuff. One of the toys was stuffed with catnip, and it didn't take long for Leon to start investigating.



Once I had gotten the catnip toy out of its package, Becky and Leon had to give it the once over. I guess catnip toys make Becky braver, because I don't think I have ever seen her so close to Leon before, unless I was rescuing her after Leon had pinned her down.



And, it surprised me even more when Becky ended up with the toy.



So I had a good time, spent too much money, made my cats happy and came home satisfied with the day. I had better make myself a very light supper tonight, because you know I am going to have one of those deserts. Let's see, should I have the vanilla almond square or the Reese's peanut butter brownie? Ahhhhh, decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Two Weeks

I've been retired for two whole weeks now. Still feel more like I'm on vacation, though I did notice that the "oh no, I have to go to work tomorrow" feeling didn't hit me so often on Sunday night.

One thing I'm noticing, that I don't really like, is that I have a tendency to sit at home a lot. It seems to me that I should be going out and about more. But, I get up, and I putter for a couple of hours. Then I read for a while. Then I take a nap. And, I'm perfectly happy doing that. I really want to be more active. But, right now, it just seems like too much of an effort.

I did manage to go grocery shopping today. I actually used my coupons! Oh, and Joanna, I did find that the store brands, in a couple of instances were still cheaper than the national brands with coupons. I live in the land of Wegman's, so their own brand is usually pretty good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Couponing

I got a wee, small start on something that I have told myself that I would do when I retire. I haven't had time, or, maybe, haven't made time, to cut out and use grocery coupons while I was working. Well, I don't have that excuse any longer. So, for the last couple of weeks, I have been saving the coupon flyers that come with the Sunday paper.

Today, I sat down and cut out all of the ones that I thought would be useful. I tried to be conservative and not cut out ones that I thought I wouldn't use. That's products that I don't ordinarily use, and products for which the coupons would run out before I had need for more. I ended up with a nice little stack of them, when I was done.



Now, I just have to figure out a way to file them, so that I can find them easily when I need them. I have a purse that I don't use, because, though it is a decent size, it isn't quite big enough to be an every day purse. I thought that I might make that my grocery shopping purse. I'll sort the coupons, probably by type and date, and put them in envelopes. Then I'll put the envelopes in the purse. When I am going grocery shopping, I'll simply take my billfold from my every day purse and put it in the coupon purse. At least, that's what I'll do, if someone doesn't show me a better way.

I'm a newby at this. So, if you have ideas about how to make couponing more effective, by all means, please let me know.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

LEON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I love my marmalade cat, Leon, I really do. He is the best snuggler in the world, and, sometimes, when he looks at me, I can tell that he really, really likes me. Maybe loves me, if cats can really love another creature.

But, there are days when he drives me crazy, and today has been one of them. He's a big healthy male in his prime, and he's full of vim and vinegar. There are days when he just has energy to burn. Unfortunately, his idea of expending that energy is to run and roughhouse with the other cats. My youngest, Rachael, can keep up with him, and that usually satisfies him. But, today, he thought that everyone in the house should play.

That would be fine, if Gina and Becky wanted to play. But they are older, more settled and Becky, especially, is a timid little thing. Leon wouldn't stop bounding after them this morning, giving them playful swats, if he could catch them. Unfortunately for them, he's bigger, and his swats knock them over. Gina finally retreated to a high spot where she growled and hissed at him whenever he came near.

Becky kept running -- the wrong thing to do, because Leon thought she was playing and ran after her, time and again. He would corner her, she would cower and growl, and I would break up the confrontation. Sigh, finally I had to resort to putting Leon all by himself in a bedroom, until he calmed down. I was very frazzled.

All that seems to be over now, and everyone is sleeping peacefully. I'm going to join them, shortly, for my afternoon nap. I need one.

I love Leon, I really do. But, somedays----------------------sigh.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Summer Will Come Again

The temperature is above freezing here, and has been for a couple of days. As a result, the snow is melting, and, as it melts, it becomes progressively more dingy and dirty. It's not a pleasure to look at, any more. This is the part of winter that I don't like. And, this is when I get a little bit antsy and want the flowers to bloom again. So, I went looking for the flower pictures that I took last year. I thought I'd share some of them with you.

My hydrangeas were spectacular last year.



The orange double daylilies outperformed themselves.



As did the yellows




One of my gardens



So, yes, I am a gardener. It's one of the things I am looking forward to being able to do more of, now that I am retired. I am beginning to get the itch to get my hands into God's good earth.

Time to start looking at catalogs.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sunshine!

It's a bright, sunny day today. And, it's the first one we've had since New Years Day. I went out for a bit to enjoy it. It was nice to see shadows and blue sky.



The turkeys have been out and about.



I've added a new blog to the list of blogs that I follow. It's a blog by a doctor from the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, in Haiti. It offers a good, firsthand view of what these doctors are going through there, trying to care for the multitudes of injured.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A seething Mass Continued

Well, that's odd. I did something wrong, and the video doesn't show. I can't figure out how to edit a completed post, so I'll try once more.

video

The Seething Mass

I have a plague. A plague of mallard duckies. It started innocently enough. I looked out of my window and saw a pair of mallards, cleaning up the corn that I put out for the turkeys. Awwwww, how cute! They are adorable critters, with their sweet little waddle, and the way that they plunk themselves down to eat. I liked the way that one was always on watch, while the other ate.

Well, a couple of days later, I looked out and there were six, and a couple of days after that, I managed to get a still photo of them, and counted 19. Tell me that birds don't communicate, and I won't believe you.

My turkeys don't come every day, so there is plenty of food, usually, for the ducks. But, this is getting ridiculous. I put the food out in the afternoon, because that is when the turkeys usually come. The ducks come at dusk. Last night, I looked out, and this is what I saw.



The quality of the film is poor because it was taken with a digital camera usually used for stills, and the lighting at dusk is so poor. But, really, don't you think this is a bit exteme? And, even a bit creepy? If you don't look closely, all you see is a seething mass of something.

I don't know why the stupid things didn't migrate. They always used to. Maybe there are so many fools like me, who put food out, that they have changed their habits. I know the cardinals have. But, they're small, and pretty and they don't eat ten tons of food a day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Volunteering

One of the things I want to do more of is volunteering. I already do quite a bit for the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program. I am lead volunteer for their Trainer's Listings. I want to do even more with them.

We have a "lower end" Thoroughbred race track in this area. Once a horse is done racing here, there are often no other career opportunities for them. They need to find another career and we help their trainers and owners do that. We have volunteers on the track every Saturday, when the track is open (Spring, Summer and Fall). These volunteers take listings for horses for sale by these owners and trainers. The listings are worked up, and placed on an Internet Bulletin Board, where people all over can see them. Here's the listing site. Right now, it's kind of static, because the track is closed for the winter.
http://fltrainerlist.proboards.com/index.cgi?

We work in teams. One person takes the pictures and one person takes the information that will be written up later, for the listings. My specialty is taking pictures. Sometimes, they come out very good.



Sometimes, in spite of all I can do, they come out very bad.



But, all of the time, they surely do make lovely subjects.






Aren't they beautiful? There's nothing as breathtaking as a Thoroughbred, IMO.

I love all animals, but I have a special weakness for horses. I don't own any now, but I have had them most of my adult life. Since I keep a horse for life, and since horses can live to over 30 years old, I was afraid to get another, when my last horse, my beautiful Promise Mare, died last February, at 26. At my age, I couldn't take the risk of getting sick or dieing, and leaving the animal in limbo.

So, I get my horse fix through the Trainer's Listings. The only problem is that I see beautiful young horses for sale every week. And, let me tell you, that's a real temptation.

Hmmm, I wonder if I should start a blog, when racing starts up again, just about the track?

Monday, January 11, 2010

One Week Continued

I just took the rollers out, and, well, let's just say that I won't be doing that again. If you called my hair "poofy" you would be putting it mildly. Now to figure out how to get it smooshed down, so I can go out in public.

One Week!



My retirement balloon is still going strong. Last night, I had to laugh at myself. I kept getting that "uggg, I have to go to work tomorrow" feeling in the pit of my stomach that I usually got on Sunday nights. Then, I'd remember that I didn't have to go any more, and the feeling would go away. I wonder how long it will take until that stops happening?

I worked in the same place for over 33 years. It's a great place, with loads of nice people. But, I did get burned out, the last couple of years. Luckily, I had a wonderful boss, who understood, and tried very hard to make things happier for me. She pretty much succeeded. but I was still very glad to walk out of the door.

This week, I have to start a few small projects, just a few things I have to do to firm up my retirement plans. I better do better than I did today, so far, though. I overslept, got seduced by the computer and then decided that I was going to see what putting my hair up in rollers would look like. THAT took an hour and won't be a part of my usual routine. The rollers are still in. If my hair looks good when I take them down, I may do it again, but only for a very special event.

And, no, I'm not going to show you a picture of what I look like with rollers in my hair.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Enough Big Chill

That's about enough, for a day or so, about beautiful New York State in winter. You can only take so many pictures of white, grey and slate blue. Not that I don't love looking out the window at it, and going out all bundled up.

The air in winter here has a clean, crisp smell to it. And, with all of the shoveling I have had to do lately, I have had plenty of chances to take a big whiff or 15. Dang, I'm out of shape. Four or five shovelfuls, and I have to stop and puff for a bit.

But, most of my time has been spent inside. I have given myself a week to just hang around, doing, basically, nothing. I have read, played on the computer and, of course, taken long and lovely naps every day. The week's about up, and I have to get cracking.

The cats are enjoying having me home, so far. I expect that to change after the begin to figure out that this is it, from now on. Cats are private creatures and I expect that they will get sick of me being around after a while. Tough noogies

But, last night, Rachael was being cute. She does it on purpose, I'm sure. Everyone tells me that she is a beautiful little cat, and I think she knows it. She does know how to pose.



Meanwhile, my garbageman, Leon, was out in the kitchen, scarfing up what bits of food the other cats had left behind. I have to put Rachael and him in a bedroom to eat, because they eat very fast, and then come and chase my older cats away from their food. And, when I open the door, Leon always high tails it to the kitchen, to see if he can find leftovers.



Becky is a little scared of him, but, he fascinates her, so she hides and watches.




And, Gina makes sure she is on the table, so that she can pounce, if necessary.




Now, isn't that ridiculous? I just realized that I was making sure that I had pictures of all four cats up. Like, I didn't want to slight any of them. I'm sure they care.

Well, they say that the sun is going to come out today, so maybe I can get some pictures that aren't so dark. I had better stop exercising my fingers and get on with the day. It is, after all, my last day of total irresponsibility.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Exploring

I got the urge, a couple of days ago, to go exploring. So, I hopped into my car and went driving. Really smart, with the price of gas these days, eh? I remember the "good old days" when the Sunday drive was an accepted part of life. We'd all hop in the car, and head as far out into the country as we could go. In those days, it seemed that we would, inevitably, end up on a dirt road somewhere, with Dad mumbling and grumbling about what that road was doing to the car. Now, around here at least, I don't think you could find a dirt road.

I ended up down by Lake Ontario. I had a devil of a time trying to find a place to pull in, even though I was driving in a park. All of the parking lots were full of snow. I finally found one lot that had been plowed, so I got out of the car and started exploring, with my trusty camera around my neck. I had never seen the Lake in winter before. It's an entirely different body of water.



What surprised me the most was how dirty the ice was. Yellow, brown and generally icky wasn't what I expected. I wonder if that is pollution, or just the fauna that inhabits the lake?



I didn't stay out too long, because it was cold and desolate. Just to prove that I wasn't the only idiot out in the rotten weather, here are some ice fishermen. Now, there's a real brrrrrrrrr.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Turkeys!

One of the things a lot of people asked me when I mentioned that I was retiring was if I was going to move South. My answer was a resounding NO!!! I'm not a fan of hot weather and humidity, and tend to stay inside and moan and groan a lot. I have enough natural insulation that the cold doesn't bother me very much and I love the sense of safety you get when you're in a nice warm house, looking out at a raging snowstorm. Ice storms, now, that's a different story.

Another reason that I'm not moving is that I love where I live. My house was originally bought by my Grandfather, in the 1920's. It has passed down through the generations, and I have lived here my entire life. It is close to stores, a mile from a major grocery store and less than five miles from all the stores I would ever need to shop in. Yet, I am surrounded by woods, and have the benefit of the peace, quiet and critters that woodlands provide.

Yesterday was a revelation, in terms of critters. I knew that I had turkeys around. I see them at the bird feeder occasionally, and there are always plenty of tracks around. I enjoy them when I do see them, and love the way you can clearly see that birds are descended from reptiles. When they run, they look like mini velociraptors.

What I didn't realize was how many I had around here. The past two days I have been treated to an afternoon visit by a flock of 16 turkeys.




Here's a closer picture of some of them. Their feathers are really beautiful, surprisingly multi-colored.



And, king of them all, the magnificent Tom. I had seen him before, and was a bit worried about him. We have a neighbor who hunts in the woods here, and I was very much afraid that he would get him this year. My worry was apparently unfounded, however, and Mr. Tom outwitted the hunter to live another year. He's so beautiful, but, truthfully, I would think that, with 15 wives, he's a little henpecked at times.



This morning, I looked out the window, and there they were again. And, I hadn't put the day's food out yet. I hope that they come back this afternoon.

So, I'll stick right here, in the old house with the unlevel floors and the wavy plaster walls. It's not a McMansion, but, really, who could ask for anything better?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Well Yippee!

No photos today, just a quick comment. I know I'm only two days in, but, so far, I feel more like I'm on vacation than retired. I think it will take a while to really sink in. Whatever it is, I'm enjoying it very much.

Today I wanted to get something at a store that I don't usually go to. In the old days, I would have just skipped it, because "I don't have time." No such problem today. And, on my way there, I saw lots of new stores that I hadn't seen before. Something tells me that one of the first thing that I will be doing is exploring my own home town.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Following a Deer Trail






Every time it snows, I see the deer tracks in my yard, and want to follow them into the woods around my house, to see where they will lead. The time has never been quite right. But, today, I decided that it was the day.

So, I bundled up in my winter clothes and ventured out with my camera. It's been cold here, and the snow is light, soft, and it sparkles in the faint sunlight. The tracks lead me deeper and deeper into the woods. The going wasn't hard, and I went farther and farther towards the water. It was still there, with everything silent as I passed. I didn't see any living creatures, but I found an indentation in the snow where a deer had spent the night. Brrrrr, no place that I would like to sleep. I took a picture of it, and I hope you can see the spot.

Finally, I came to a spot where the slope grew dramatically steeper. The deer trail continued on, but I decided that I had enough adventuring for one day, and I didn't need to add a tumble down the slope to my list of accomplishments. I turned and headed back.

All in all, a very successful adventure for my first day of retirement.